What is Paton's vision of the world; does he think that humans are immutable or capable of transformation?  

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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Alan Paton's vision of the world was ideologically firmly in place from his college years. While he gained greater insight from travels to England and, later, to Scandinavian countries, and from greater exposure to the realities of life in South Africa, Paton was always devoted to aiding those who needed aid and seeing all men as free brothers with equal liberty and dignity. In college, Paton joined an organization of Christian men that was devoted to community service and broader social service because of his commitment to fostering circumstances in which transformation could occur. It was in the capacity of their president that he traveled first to England where he learned how South Africa's treatment of non-white was perceived and judged by other countries.

Paton eventually accepted a position in 1935 as the headmaster of Diepkloof, a prison for African men that was being converted to a reformatory. Since Paton's world ideology was rooted in transformation of humanity, he implemented many liberal changes that enhanced the lives of the inmates. He left Diepkloof as the Nationalist Party was gaining support and changes were being enforced that would undo all his reforms.

It was in 1948, almost immediately after leaving Diepkloof, that Cry, the Beloved Country was published to resounding success, which came as the Nationalist Party was gaining greater and greater political power and implementing the outrageous laws of apartheid segregation. Heartrending, Cry, the Beloved Country became the rallying cry and inspiration of the antiapartheid movement, which is predicated on the mutability and transformational power of humanity.

Later, in 1953, Paton founded the Liberal Party to fight against inhuman racial injustice and became its president. In 1960 the Nationalist government disbanned the party and revoked Paton's passport, keeping it in revocation until 1970. From this overview, it is clear that Paton's vision of the world was for a world in which each person has transformational power and the liberty, freedom and dignity to stand in peace and respect with the means to make and establish a safe, sound, productive, peaceful life.

[The link template won't accept this link, but it goes to the Masterplots disscussion of Cry, the Beloved Country.]

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